NBC won't go 'Legally Mad,' and what that means for 'Chuck'

Davidekelley NBC has decided to swallow a rather sizable cash penalty rather than pick up David E. Kelley's pilot "Legally Mad" next season.

The network has officially taken a pass on the show, about a young woman who takes a job at her dad's law firm and the band of eccentrics who work there. The showbiz trades say that means NBC will have to pay a seven-figure penalty to producer Warner Bros. TV as a result, since the network ordered the pilot with a play it-or-pay up provision.

Reports began trickling out last week, after NBC announced most of its shows for next season, that "Legally Mad" hadn't been that well-received in screenings but was still in play because of the financial arrangement with Warner Bros. There were also reports that linked its fate with that of "Chuck," another Warner Bros. show whose fate is still up in the air.

The speculation was that NBC would agree to pick up a third season of "Chuck" if the studio agreed to drop the penalty for "Legally Mad." Variety now says, however, that the two decisions aren't related and that "Chuck" is a decent bet to return next season.

At the very least, the decision to forego "Legally Mad" opens up a little bit of room for "Chuck" or another show -- "Medium" and "Law & Order" also have yet to be formally renewed -- on NBC's schedule for next season. The network will announce its full 2009-10 schedule, including its final series pickups, on Tuesday, May 19.

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